Interactive TV News Round-Up (VII): STMicroelectronics, Nagra (OpenTV), TiVo, AT&T, Charter

--STMicroelectronics Releases First Validated Drivers for Nagra's OpenTV 5 Middleware
--TiVo Secures $215+ Million Settlement of AT&T Patent Dispute
--Charter Launches TiVo Premiere in Texas

Because the [itvt] editorial team has a backlog of news to cover following TVOT NYC Intensive 2011 and our post-event vacation, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several days to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

  • Nagra, the Kudelski Group company that now incorporates the operations of pioneering interactive TV middleware provider, OpenTV, said last month that STMicroelectronics has released the first validated drivers for the latest version (5) of its OpenTV set-top box middleware. "The validated drivers provide a rapid porting platform enabling significantly shorter time-to-market for operators or OEM's deploying OpenTV 5 on any class of set-top box featuring ST's current STi7105 andSTi7108 and also imminently on Orly, the latest-generation most-powerful broadband system-on-chip IC," Nagra states in its press materials. "Fast and customized network integration can be achieved easily with minimal customization, enabling rapid project completion taking advantage of OpenTV's open architecture and ecosystem plus support for advanced user interfaces. The OpenTV 5 set-top box middleware provides the core functions needed to support services from basic television to on-demand content and over-the-top (OTT) Internet video. Functions include support for standard television services, video/audio controls, PVR (personal video recorder), security, home networking, advanced program guides and IP-based services. Middlewares such as OpenTV 5, which fully leverages Linux, open standards and the latest chipset developments, reduce time-to-market while allowing service providers to control and rapidly customize the look and feel of their services and so remain independent of their equipment vendors. OpenTV 5 significantly extends the role of the set-top box as the central home appliance for accessing TV, Internet and personal content. By taking maximum advantage of the hardware features of ST's current- and upcoming-generation chipsets, OpenTV 5 enables developers to create highly differentiated end products. The ST chipset's features include powerful video processing, 3D graphics for advanced user interfaces and gaming, hard-disk and USB connectivity, and are compatible with standards such as HTML5 and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) for content sharing supported by OpenTV 5." Nagra and ST say that the OpenTV 5 middleware pre-integrated with ST silicon will be available early this year.
  • TiVo announced Tuesday that it has settled its pending patent litigation with AT&T via a mutual patent licensing arrangement. "Under the terms of the settlement, AT&T agreed to pay TiVo an initial payment of $51 million, followed by recurring quarterly guaranteed payments through June 2018, totaling $164 million, which together yield minimum payments of $215 million," the company states in a press release. "In addition to these minimum payments, AT&T will pay incremental recurring per-subscriber monthly license fees through July 2018 should AT&T's DVR subscriber base exceed certain levels. As part of the settlement, TiVo and AT&T agreed to dismiss all pending litigation between the companies with prejudice. The parties also entered into a cross license of their respective patent portfolios in the advanced television field." Said TiVo president and CEO, Tom Rogers: "We are extremely pleased to reach an agreement with AT&T, which acknowledges the value of our intellectual property. This settlement, on the heels of our recent operational success that has resulted in the growth of TiVo's overall subscriber base, is another major accomplishment for TiVo and we believe a great outcome for our shareholders. The combination of guaranteed payments and future additional fees paid to TiVo in the event that AT&T's pay-TV business continues to grow in-line with consensus analyst expectations, represents hard-earned compensation for our IP enforcement efforts. The settlement also provides us rights to innovate TiVo products and services under license from AT&T and allows us to avoid significant legal expenses that we expect would have been incurred by us during and after trial."
  • In other TiVo news: The company announced last month that Charter Communications has launched a whole-home DVR/connected-TV solution powered by the TiVo Premiere box to its Texas customers. It says that the solution will be available across Charter's footprint in the first half of this year. "TiVo Premiere from Charter seamlessly blends traditional television channels with Internet-delivered video and interactive applications from Charter On Demand as well as Pandora, YouTube and more, all packaged in TiVo's easy-to-use, elegant user interface," TiVo states in its press materials. "In addition to the robust entertainment library, customers can also take advantage of a whole-home video solution allowing them to begin a recording in one room, pause and pick it up from a TiVo Premiere device in another room."
North America